DPE VISION

Basotho as individuals, families, organisations and communities independantly and voluntarily choose dialogue and other nonviolent means to resolve conflicts, actively participate in governance and cooperative sustainable development initiatives.

DPE MISSION

Empower community based organisations through animation to work collectively to promote the culture of peace.

THE ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF DEVELOPMENT FOR PEACE EDUCATION

Development for Peace Education (DPE) is an idea conceived by Sr Veronica ‘Mapaseka Phafoli (late) who was inspired by deep theological reflections on the capacity of the people to transform their misery into peaceful world. As a member of Order of Sisters of Holy Names, Teacher, Principal and first Mosotho provincial, she became worried by the ever increasing gap between the rich and the poor and the shrinking space for ordinary citizens to determine their destiny. She took a 4-month sabbatical leave to study alternatives to development.

She was inspired greatly by Latin American liberation and in particular by the writings of Paolo Freire. This greatly influenced her to refine Paolo Freire’s Action Reflection Cycle by including theological dimension into Reflection-Action-Reflection, the life blood methodological approach of the organisation. On return, she then planned to start supporting social analysis by the grassroots. Her order allowed her to pursue her ideas for a period of three years, after which the order would decide whether she would be allowed to continue.

Since 1986, she offered and participated in many social awareness, peace education and development workshops. She started working with volunteer animators, supported the reflection of small grassroots groups and invited interested people in an Advisory Committee to support her work. They helped her to develop a constitution, find and manage funds and the organisation was registered in 1989. DPE is therefore an organisation established not tell people what to do to improve their lives but that which empowers them and rekindles their human potential to devise peaceful means to recreate peaceful society.

DPE is a civil society organisation based on Christian values of justice, sharing and respect for human dignity. The organisation was formed in 1987 and legally registered in 1989 by Sister Veronica ‘Mapaseka Phafoli, as a response to marginalisation and pacification of local communities in the development process. Its work is rooted in reflections on the capacity of people to transform their current situation to achieve a higher standard of living which define peace. DPE is guided by the prophetic theology which seeks to empower people to accept themselves as valuable creatures of God. The organisation is governed by the National Executive Committee, the highest administrative organ of the organisation elected by the Annual General Meeting which is the highest authoritative. The ExCom meets at least quarterly to review narrative and financial progress.

The article 3 of DPE constitution states that DPE shall be a people’s programme with the structure which gives those involved in it power to run it. Inherent in this aim is the firm belief in the capacity of ordinary members of society to organise their power and change their situation. In her founding conceptualisation, the founder emphasised that for real transformation to occur, there must be accurate analysis of the problems and their root causes and for it to be accurate it has to start with the people themselves. DPE facilitates Action that starts with the poor, the marginalised, the oppressed and those who when speaking their voice is not heard.

DPE is therefore people’s stage for the change they themselves define and Act towards achieving. DPE philosophy hands over the stick to the communities to do things on their own and determine their own destiny.